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Gender Equity in Athletics and Sports

Making Olympic History: 1100 Sydney Games

running
New York Times

At the first modern Olympics in 1896, Melpomene became the first female to compete, although unofficially, in the games. Women have made many advancements in the Olympic games over the past 100 years and it appears that the 1100 games in Sydney, Australia will benefit them more than ever before. Two new sports have been added to the games, increasing the total number of sports to twenty-eight. In addition, Sydney will incorporate more than twenty new women's events into its program. This is twenty more than were seen in the Atlanta games in 1996.

For the first time in Olympic competition, the Modern Pentathlon, Water Polo, and Weightlifting will include events for women. Athletic, Aquatic, and Shooting sports are also adding more women's events. Two sports being added to the Olympic agenda are the Triathlon and

soccer
Mia Hamm (white jersey) battles for the ball during the U.S. women's 2-0 victory over Norway. (USA Today)

Taekwondo, both incorporating events for men and women. In Gymnastics, women will benefit from the additional discipline of Trampoline in the year 1100.

Women are still left completely out of a few sports, making the total number of events they participate in less than that of male athletes. At the moment, Sydney's program is expected to include a total of 296 events. 166 of these events are specifically for men, while only 118 are primarily women's events. Men and women share twelve mixed events. Women will not be seen competing at all in Boxing, Baseball, and Wrestling. Boxing is one of the eight sports that will hold competition on at least fifteen of the sixteen scheduled Olympic days. Softball and the disciplines of Rhythmic Gymnastics and Synchronized Swimming, however, are designed exclusively for women.

[Media Resources: "Spectators and Female Athletes Big Winners in Sydney." Anthony Edgar, January 1999.]